When I first met Ezakiah, he was practicing putting with one of my students. I learned that the two of them met while playing in the South Florida PGA Junior Section Links Tour, now they have become friends. His Dad asked me what I thought about him and I was honest when I said he has a lot of raw talent he just needs to slow down. About a week, later I received a text inquiring about some lessons.
He is by far the smallest 7 year old I have coached so far and he has a lot of energy that needed to be harnessed in the correct way. He has become extremely attentive and always repeats everything I say during his lessons. He really wants to improve and he practices by playing the course in between lessons which has built up his confidence level. His strokes in tournament play have also decreased leading to his best 9 hole tournament score of 46 and a first place finish.
Ezakiah has the best attitude toward golf that I have seen in a long time. He is always happy and ready to learn. He is extremely polite and he is always impeccably dressed for his golf lessons. He comes dressed to succeed and after just seven lessons he is well on his way.
Mateo started learning golf when he was 5 years old but he told me that he really started to like it after I took over his group classes. He was quite talented for his age, so I encouraged his Mom to consider private lessons as well. He quickly excelled and moved up from the Little Linkers to Level 1 where I introduced the 9 Core Values. In order to move up to Level 2, golfers were required to attain a certain score on a golf skills assessment. The first time, he was nervous, the second time he came close and the third time he crushed it. While the first two assessments were disappointing he learned a lot about himself and his golf game. Now, I felt he was ready to play tournaments.
Tournaments proved to be a testing ground for true perseverance and grit. With a little coaching from his caddie, he was able to work through some mental challenges on the course and place first a dozen times and second a few times. Mateo, now 8, picked up tournament play again in June and he started to struggle with perseverance. "I have a hard time forgetting what went wrong on the last hole. I get upset and then it carries into the next hole. Sometimes I just don't recover." He puts a lot of pressure on himself because he wants to be perfect.
No golfer is perfect so I had to spend a lot of time with him encouraging him to focus on the fundamentals that I have always taught him. His early success, left him complacent. Complacency led to over confidence which led to mistakes and a lack of perseverance. It was a tough summer of learning and growing for him.
This past weekend, he was given the opportunity to play up in the 9-11 group of the South Florida PGA Junior Section Links Tour at Indian Spring Country Club in Boynton Beach. He was nervous but when he saw a familiar face from his previous PGA Junior League Team he was more relaxed. He played bogey golf through 4 holes. "I was not happy, but after the 4th bogey, I decided to focus. I needed to catch up. I was making too many mistakes." He birdied 5, parred 6 and birdied 7 to tie the leader. That birdie would lead to a first place finish for Mateo in a scorecard playoff.
The win was special because he played against two 10 year-olds who could out drive him. It was intimidating but he overcame it and finally did what I had been teaching him to do, persevere-never give up.
I love teaching golf and I especially love teaching golf to students who are willing to put in the time to practice. I stress this to all of my students but especially for students who purchase lesson packages and plan to have a lesson on a weekly basis. I make the commitment to my students and I expect my students to make the commitment to practice what they have learned in the lesson. Why? I don't like to see people waste money.
If a week goes by and my student has not practiced, it is very unlikely that we are going to make much progress in the next lesson. I want my students to improve in their skills and their game. That progression happens during a student's practice time when neural pathways are created.
Neural pathways are formed whenever we start a new behavior. Golf can be a new behavior for a beginner student or it can be an existing behavior that needs to be altered for an amateur golfer. Either way it takes time for your brain to impress the new behavior into your memory. Just like riding a bike, once you have learned you do not need to learn again.
Golf skills, however, require more practice because learning how to swing a golf club is only the beginning. The physics of the golf swing will take you on a journey of varying emotions as you play the course. It is not something that you will master after one lesson without practice. For this reason, I do not recommend taking a lesson just before your tee time.
If you want to progress, make the time to practice. If life gets in the way and you cannot practice; reschedule your lesson.
Water is essential to life and makes up 60% of our bodies. It has many different roles in the body that can be affected by how much water we have available. Considering a hydration strategy when golfing is important but when golfing in the heat, it becomes essential.
We lose water through respiration, perspiration and urination. Any type of exercise or sport activity done in the heat, such as golf, speeds up the rate of water loss making it more important to not only hydrate with water but to also replace electrolytes.
Water’s many roles include transporting nutrients to the cells, carries waste products away from cells, lubricates the joints, regulates the body’s temperature and supplies minerals to the body. Some of those minerals are electrolytes.
Electrolytes help regulate muscle contractions (your heart is a muscle) as well as help keep you hydrated, help balance pH levels and control the central nervous system. We lose electrolytes with the water that comes out of our body; replacing them can be critical not only for health but also for golf performance.
We know why water is important but how do we go about hydrating properly? Fluid balance or proper hydration is similar to energy balance (food intake vs output). It is important to avoid fluid imbalance for health as well as sport performance. These four easy steps will help you to hydrate daily before and after your practice or round.
1. Determine how much water you need to drink on a daily basis by using this equation:
One of the easiest way to determine how much water you need is by body weight. This would be the basic amount you need daily without exercise.
*Yes, you’ll need to find a metric converter like this one to do the math.
Water Needs: 30 – 40 mL of water per 1 kg of bodyweight (*this is a base number - additional water will be needed for activity as well). Example: if you weigh 50 kg (110 lb), you would need 1.5 L – 2 L of water per day.
2. Pre-hydration - Drinking about 2 cups of water BEFORE intense exercise begins ensures adequate hydration to start.
3. During Exercise – 1 cup (8 ounces) of water mixed with electrolytes (about 3/4 water to 1/4 electrolyte) every 15 minutes approximately. Examples of electrolytes include Gatorade, Powerade, coconut water, Electromix, or Nuun (there are many others to choose from as well. It’s important to read labels and choose a product based on your own personal needs.)
4. After Exercise – Fluid intake is required to assist in recovery. Recovering with a mix of water, protein and carbs is a great idea in addition to electrolytes if needed.
Formula: Approximately 15g of protein, 30g of carbs, electrolytes and water.
I hope this information is helpful. Special thanks to my personal trainer who took the time to explain the specifics so I can share them.
I shared some information about the importance of fitness in golf and that has led to questions about specific exercises or workout routines. As a result I am providing a few ideas that you can include in your fitness routine for golf:
Push Ups + Pull Ups (or bodyweight rows) – The push/pull aspect is huge in the golf swing. Conditioning both chest and back is essential not only for balance of opposing muscle groups but because you need both push and pull in the swing.
Balance + Stability – Work on an uneven surface can help improve balance. Example: Squats with one foot slightly higher or on a boss ball. Now, if you’re not sure what a squat is or you don’t know if you have good form, please go get evaluated by a professional.
Separation – Movements that require your upper body to move separately from your lower body may help improve separation in the golf swing. Example: Wood Chops
Speed + Power – Sprints + Plyometrics like jump squats and burpees. Golf is a game of power (and control) so where will that power come from if you don’t include it in your workouts?
Flexibility – You need flexibility for power and range of motion. Static stretching is done only after you’re warm. Dynamic flexibility can be done as a warm up. Another great way to warm up and promote flexibility is foam rolling.
It’s important to note that each body is different and has different physical needs including any issues with injury or imbalance. If you have specific needs or postural issues, please consult with a personal trainer. It’s always recommended to check with your physician before beginning any new physical fitness program.
Check out PGA Tour Active for specific information about how individual PGA Tour Players approach fitness.